Czech cross-country skiing got a splendid boost at the start of the season from Kateřina Razýmová’s amazing performance. In Finnish Ruka she finished at amazing 5th place in 10km classical race, lacking only 2,3 sec to medal spots. She indicated she could have some promising chances in Nové Město na Moravě in January.
This is the best Czech result after two years. Last time, Petra Nováková raced the 10km competition within Tour de Ski in Lenzerheide where she came 9th in January 2008. Czech women skiers have been waiting for podium since March 2007 when Kateřina Neumannová finished second in Falun.
Now there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. 28-year-old Czech performed her maximum although she did not feel herself in a shape. Her top is usually in January when there are Czech races on programme so Razýmová could catch her opponents unawares.
"In spite of the result I felt I have a lack in my shape. It’s hard to say but according to my heart rate my performance could have been better. So the bigger suprise it was for me when I raced my life result. I hope to gather those places more often in the season. I am usually in shape in January," Razýmová said to media after her splendid race.
So far she finished 18th as her best in classic 10km in World Cup in Lahti last season. "I really don’t know what to say because I’m so excited. During the race I was told I was second all the time so I thought they were telling me a total nonsense. Now I’m sorry for the two seconds because to be third it would be a bomb," Razýmová admitted to be suprised by the result, too. She even burst ouf of cry after crossing the finish line. "I simply did not understand I could be so good. I have to say during the race I could be satisfied with third of fourth place and finally I didn’t believe and run the last kilometer in autopilot mode," she added.
She confirmed her excellent weekend by 9th place in following pursuit where she started from 7th place and kept herself in elite ten. "My main goal was to calm down the nerves somehow because after the first good race my level was high so I was hugely nervous. I wished I could repeat such a result and was so scared not to fail. I hoped I could go well again and 9th place is amazing," Razýmová enjoyed the emotions.
Her first points in season were also grabbed by Petra Nováková who finished 29th with her number 38. Sandra Schützová was 60th.
The favourite Norwegian Therese Johaug was absolute winner of both races. At first, she totally reigned classic 10km race with half a minute ahead second Finnish Krista Pärmäkoski. Second, Johaug won the pursuit, followed by Norwegian Heidi Wenge losing 71 seconds.
Men classic 15km was won by home skier Iivo Niskanen. 2017 World Champion beat Norwegian Johannese Klaeba, the winner of opener sprint and defender of complete championship, for 13 seconds. The only Czech representative Michal Novák finished 46th and gained no points.
Men 15km pursuit race experienced more drama. Title defender Klaebo rushed first with 15 sec margin but about 10km later he was followed by Emil Iversen and Finnish winner of classic race Iivo Niskanen. This strong group went together until the final uphill where 23-year-old Klaebo kicked it and after Friday’s sprint victory he went for total triumph in Ruka Triple. Iversen finished second followed by third Niskenen.
Michal Novák succeeded in this race when finishing 30th from his Saturday’s 42nd place. The only Czech also noticed another points for racing 25th time of the day.